IMPROVE OR MOVE: LOCKDOWN AND THE STAMP DUTY FREEZE SEE HOUSEHOLDS MAKING MORE HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Published: 11/08/2020
  • Since lockdown began, one third (30%) of homeowners across the UK are considering moving home
  • Eight in 10 (80%) of those considering moving since lockdown began said that they are now even more likely to move house following the Chancellor’s stamp duty freeze
  • Six in 10 (62%) homeowners have made home improvements in the last 12 months, spending an average of £3,000 on the work
  • Over half (58%) of those who made home improvements in the last 12 months did so instead of moving house, with one fifth (20%) wanting to increase the value of their property for a later sale

11 August 2020: The Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday has convinced many that it is time to move home. Eight in 10 (80%) homeowners, who have considered moving since lockdown began, say they are now even more likely to do so as a result of the announcement. In London, nearly a third (30%) are considering moving away from the capital. New research from comparethemarket.com also reveals that over half of those (57%) considering moving home are now looking at higher value properties than before the stamp duty freeze was announced.

Many homeowners are also still carrying on with home improvements to increase the value of their current property, with a third (32%) currently planning to undertake some form of renovation. Of those wishing to make home improvements, outlined below are the top planned projects:

Percentage of households planning to make home improvements

Cosmetic changes and general interior design 50.15% 
Complete repaint: external and/or internal 37.15%
New kitchen 26.63%
New bathroom 23.53%
New external space / building an outhouse (such as a shed conversion) 12.69%
Loft extension 9.91%
New office 8.51%
Ground floor extension 7.12%
Conservatory 7.12%
Additional bedroom 5.88%
Side/rear extension 5.88%
New roof 5.26%
New home gym 4.95%
Basement conversion 2.63%

Looking back over the last 12 months, six in 10 (62%) homeowners have already made home improvements, spending an average of £3,000 on the work. Of these, 58% did so in favour of moving up the housing ladder. Over a quarter (27%) cited cheaper costs as a reason for undertaking home improvements than moving, while one-fifth (20%) wanted to increase the value of their current home for a later sale.

While home improvements can be a great way to add value to your home, over one in 10 (14%) who made improvements during the last 12 months went over budget.

Lockdown has been a main driver to encourage homeowners to either move house or make improvements, with nearly two-fifths (39%) saying that they had been planning to make changes for a while and lockdown inspired them to do so. Over a third (36%) said that the decision came as a result of spending more time in their home which made them notice it needed improvements, while nearly a quarter (24%) said the extended time spent indoors has increased general ‘wear and tear’ within the home.

Of those who decided to make home improvements during the last 12 months, only one fifth (20%) reviewed their buildings and contents insurance policies to check the small print on carrying out work and a further 21% checked whether all contractors, including builders and architects, are fully insured. Depending on the work taking place, some providers have restrictions in place on carrying out home improvements and poor or faulty workmanship is not usually covered under a home insurance policy.

Typical value home improvement can add to your home:

Home Improvement   Typical average value added
Garage conversion 20% £46,371
Loft conversion 15% £34,778
Off street parking 10%  £23,185
New kitchen 6% £13,911
Additional bathroom 6% £13,911
Conservatory 5% £11,593

Chris King, head of home insurance at comparethemarket.com said:

“The Chancellor’s decision to freeze stamp duty has inspired many homeowners across the UK to make the decision to move property and look above their initial price range. However, moving can still be expensive when you consider other costs such as legal fees, estate agents fees and removals. Our research reveals that many homeowners are opting to use that money to update their interior design, or add a new kitchen or bathroom to their home. Such improvements could increase the value of the property further when they do decide to sell.

“If improvement work is done on the home, you must then inform your insurer of the changes made. Properties that are undergoing building work can constitute more of a risk to insurers and if you are planning to undertake major works it is always worth notifying them. They need to know if the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is changing, or if there are changes to security features like locks on windows and doors. Equally, there is a risk to contents when premises are unsecured and if a larger range of people have access to your property. Or, if you are planning to carry out the work yourself, it’s worth considering accidental damage cover to protect you against any potential mishaps. Always check the terms and conditions of your policy to see what it covers before starting any major home improvements.”

Notes to editors

Sources:

Percentagse ‘typical value added from Virgin Money: https://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/living/article/how-to-add-value-to-your-home/

Monetary value based on ONS typical house price of £231,855: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-house-price-index-summary-march-2020/uk-house-price-index-summary-march-2020

Research conducted by Censuswide of 2,005 UK homeowners between 15th and 17th July 2020.

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